Bruce and Lorraine Parkinson changed the face of the local car community
Anyone who has been a part of the car enthusiast community locally knows the name The Road Hazards. Over the last ten years, the Road Hazards has been the car club responsible for the Wednesday Cruise Nights in the Canadian Tire Parking Lot, the Ribfest Car Show, and the Blues Cruise during the Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival, amongst others.
The Road Hazards was created by a group of four couples in 1995 who wanted to form a local car club to bring local car enthusiasts, and those interested in cars, together through an organized cruise night, as well as to have a voice regarding some rulings the government had brought out. The group got together, provided a number of name suggestions, and after a vote, the Road Hazards Car Club Orangeville was born. Within three years, all but one couple left the club, leaving Bruce and Lorraine Parkinson in charge. Bob and Sandra Kellar joined the executive, as did Bob Kennedy and the group moved forward to take it’s place in local history. “We decided that we didn’t want to go with a President, etc., but rather that we all be equal and all have the same vote,” wrote the Parkinson’s in a brief story on the club’s history. “The one thing that we never had to do though, is vote on anything. We just discuss[ed] the idea[s] and the right thing to do just naturally [worked] out.” While many automotive clubs follow a set of rules and guidelines designed to keep their members active and present, the Parkinsons, along with their executive team, believed that the club should have no rules. “It is a hobby after-all, so every member [could] pick and choose what events they want[ed] to do and whether they wish[ed] to help out with shows, etc,” said the Parkinsons. “They were never in a position of having to tell us if they were doing something or not. We do ask for volunteers for certain events but that is the extent of it. We wanted everyone who came to our cruise night to feel like a very welcome guest, so we try to greet them well and spend time talking to as many as possible.” Because of that attitude, the Road Hazards quickly became known as one of the friendliest cruise nights around, a reputation that the Parkinsons are incredibly proud of. As the club continued, the members made a clear effort to keep that kind of atmosphere going year after year. This year, it was announced that Bruce and Lorraine would be stepping down from running the Road
Hazards, and with no-one to currently take their place, the club has gone on a temporary hiatus. In the meantime, David Murphy, Business Relations Manager at MacMaster Buick GMC, has stepped
forward to fill their shoes and continue growing the car enthusiast community in Orangeville. “David has such a passion for cars, and has been attending the Cruise nights since he was a kid,” said Danny Brackett, President of MacMaster Buick GMC. “It’s no secret that I am a big car guy, and that many of my staff are big into cars as well. David was incredibly passionate about taking this on, and when he asked me about it, it really made sense. We are all about cars – many of our customers are all about cars – so that was another reason it fit.” Mr. Brackett has been involved with a number of the Road Hazards events, both through support for them as a dealership, as well as his involvement as a member of the Orangeville Rotary Club, which has hosted the Orangeville Ribfest over the last six years. “When you look at how this all started, and where the club has taken everyone, it’s easy to see that Bruce and Lorraine have done a lot for the local car community,” added Mr. Brackett. “We wouldn’t have the kind of community we have today if it wasn’t for their involvement.” Nowadays, it’s hard to find someone who is a part of the ever-growing group of local car enthusiasts that doesn’t know who Bruce and Lorraine Parkinson are. Despite stepping down officially, their continued involvement in helping put events together shows more than their dedication to the car community; it highlights the love and passion that they have for vehicles and for the people who are part of that enthusiast community. One could never accuse the Parkinsons or The Road Hazards of being elitist, because they have always been incredibly welcoming of car lovers, potential car lovers, and those who just love that sense of community alike. As the local car community moves forward under new leadership, with some new directions (like focusing on driving the interest of youth when it comes to classic and modern cars), one thing remains true: without Bruce and Lorraine, the community would not be where it is today, and it would certainly not be moving forward with the potential it has firing on all thrusters behind it. Written by Tabitha Wells Photos courtesy of David Murphy